Šarlo Akrobata – Bistriji Ili Tuplji Čovek Biva Kad… (1981)

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Šarlo Akrobata (Charlot the Acrobat, a Serbo-Croatian version of Charlie Chaplin‘s name) was a seminal Yugoslav post-punk band from Belgrade. Short-lived but extremely influential, being one of the most important acts of the Yugoslav new wave movement (Novi Talas). The power-trio left an indelible mark on the entire music scene, playing skeletal, energetic ska-core with a post-punk sound reminding of Gang of Four, XTC, The Stranglers, Public Image Limited, and Frank Zappa!

If you want to know a little more about the rock development in Serbia and former Yugoslavia, pay a visit on our last entries, Katarina II and Discipline Kičme.

Let’s go to our artist:

The origin of the new wave scene in Serbia can be found in Belgrade late-70’s bands Zvuk Ulice, Limunovo Drvo, and Hipnotisano Pile. These three featured the future members of milestone groups Idoli, Šarlo Akrobata, and Električni Orgazam.

Električni Orgazam
Električni Orgazam

Guitarists Milan Mladenović and Dragomir Mihajlović performed hard rock for two years in Limunovo Drvo, before adopting the punk rock on the arrival of the bassist Dušan Kojić ‘Koja’ and drummer Ivan Vdović ‘VD’. After the departure of Mihajlović (who would play on Katarina II), they finally renamed to Šarlo Akrobata!

Over 1980-81, its first recordings were released on the compilation Paket Aranžman, today considered one of the most prominent Serbian/Yugoslav rock releases. After a second prize on Subotica Youth Fest and performance on Zagreb Bienalle, they recorded their only album, Bistriji Ili Tuplji Covek Biva Kad… (Brighter or Dumber a Man Gets When…) in April 1981, combining punkish energy with dissonant, avant-garde, and a daring approach both to the playingrecording, and performance.

Milan, Koja & Ivan = Šarlo Akrobata
Milan, Koja & Ivan = Šarlo Akrobata

The band disbanded in the winter of 1981 after a tour in Poland; Milan Mladenovic started a successful and prolific group Ekatarina Velika, and Dusan Kojic formed the progressive punk act Discipline Kičme. The alleged reason was different views on how to continue their musical expression; around 1982, the New Wave scene started to decline, as a large number of acts moved towards a more commercial sound.

During the ’80sĐorđe Balašević, for instance, dominated the mainstream pop scene, but various other rock genres also emerged, such as Jakarta, Oktobar 1864, Beograd, La Strada, Zana, and Rambo Amadeus, starting to develop and gain mainstream popularity, not only in Yugoslavia but all around Eastern Europe!

Pekinška Patkathe, the first Orthodox punk rock band, 1978!
Pekinška Patkathe, the first Orthodox punk rock band, 1978!

Let’s go to our album:

A unique punk record, full of furious guitar riffs, raw bass sound, and wild shouting! Lyrics are either nonsensical, randomly recited, either rebellious, a true example of punk angst, either minimalistic representing an auditive graffiti painting. (!)

This is a record full of studio tricks that are deconstructing a classical approach to the songwriting, gradually (or abruptly) adding/subtracting instrumental layers in the songs, repeating simple one-two-three-four chorus ad nauseam, making at mantra at first, and then deconstructing it by simply adding polyrhythmical pattern on bass, while drums get heavily processed with an echo effect and other modulations.

1981
1981

Lastly, this record is a lot different from everything that we used to hear so far, Avant punk is the perfect title to add to these crazy geniuses, forget about Ekatarina Velika (my personal favorite) and other Serbian entries, this is where it all began, observe closely and plunge forward into it, the one and only Šarlo Akrobata!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Rano Izjutra and O, O, O

Trip Da!

Tracks Include:

A1 Šarlo Je Nežan

A2 Pazite Na Decu (I)

A3 Fenomen

A4 Sad Se Jasno Vidi

A5 Rano Izjutra

A6 Ljubavna Priča

A7 Samo Ponekad

B1 Čovek

B2 Bes

B3 O, O, O …

B4 Problem

B5 Ja Želim Jako

B6 Pazite Na Decu (II)

Credits

  • Bass, Vocals: Koja
  • Drums, Vocals: Ivan Vdović
  • Guitar, Vocals: Milan Mladenović
  • Design, Photography: Goran Vejvoda
  • Photography: Danko Đurić
  • Artwork (Design): Šarlo
  • Producer, Music, Arranged, Lyrics: Šarlo Akrobata
  • Producer: Toni Jurij, Mile Miletić
  • Producer, Recorded: Đorđe Petrović

Notes

Recorded in Studio 5, Beograd, April-May 1981.

  • Recorded: Studio V PGP RTB
  • Printed: GIP Beograd

Jugoton ‎– LSY 66145

Nikola Tesla and its Magnifying Transmitter
Nikola Tesla and its Magnifying Transmitter

Maki Asakawa (浅川 マキ) – Cat Nap (1982)

Capa

Japan. Today, we’ve got a point outside the curve of someone’s discography, nothing less than Asakawa Maki (Maki Asakawa, January 27, 1942 – January 17, 2010) the major female precursor for folk, rock and pop audiences in the country. Her hoarse and deep voice, hypnotic eyes and persona, all black style and the (always) cigarette in tow, managed to capture national and foreign fame throughout an extensive famous career. Much based on folk-rock, blues, and some jazz, these previous albums and characters will entry along with our galaxy. A rare live presentation it is available (for now at least) and can be seen here, check it out!

Today we’ll start with a twist overview. Different from its first releases and acclaimed developments through the ’70s, Cat Nap has its unique blends from Jazz, Rock, Funk, Reggae, Ska, Post-Punk and Pop in a solid experience direct from the early ’80s. (!)

Promo 76'
Promo 76′

Let’s go to their history:

Jazz and blues vocalist, lyricist, composer, and orchestrator Maki Asakawa was born in 1942 in Ishikawa Prefecture. After a short stint working at the town office in her small village, she headed for Tokyo to pursue music. She started by playing at U.S. military bases and cabarets, where she refined her style, which was largely informed by Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson. Asakawa released her first Ep, Tokyo Banka, on the Victor imprint in 1967. In 1968, Maki got her big break when she appeared for three days running at the Shinjuku underground theater known as Sasoriza, a project of underground playwright and controversial movie director Shuji Terayama. Shortly thereafter, she signed with Toshiba (currently EMI Music Japan), making her official major-label debut in July 1969 single’s: Yo Ga Aketara / Kamome.

Since then, Maki Asakawa has consistently released music and appeared live, garnering praise for her unique interpretation of jazz, blues, and avant-gardeshe has also collaborated with Yosuke Yamashita and Akira Sakata, and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto among many other legends!

Sadly, she died of acute heart failure in her hotel room in Nagoya on a Sunday night and later pronounced dead. She was 67. (RIP)

Years Active: 1967 ~ 2010

Live
Live

Let’s go to our album:

At the time of its release (October 21, 1982), Cat Nap received this type of commentary from the Japanese press:

‘A splendid work, with new horizons that Maki challenged, colored by improvisation, honed melody and stand out performance.’

Fact. Along with its trumpeter, composer and partner Toshinori Kondo, Maki sails free among a beautiful kaleidoscope of modern sound; once again (as JAGATARA), the 80’s aesthetics that prevailed through, were as revolutionary as those from previous decades. This is a very uptempo one with incredible experimental moments.

The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Shinkyoku B, a monster groove-reggae with crazy harmonics, fuzz and sexy vocals from our bluesy queen. A perfect song for a tropical panorama, good energies, friends and a cold drink! And Machine (an instrumental one), probably the pinnacle of the album. With its own avant-garde atmosphere, mimicking the functioning of some real machine, speaking of a Pop artist, this is quite something! We got dissonant woodwinds, atonal guitar solos, multiple sound effects and a constant pace beat that last until the final second! Crazy, crazy, crazy. 良い旅!

Writing
Indefectible Cigarette

Tracks include:

A1 暗い眼をした女優 (Kurai Me Wo Shita Joyuu)

A2 忘れたよ (Wasureta Yo)

A3 こころ隠して (Kokoro Kakushite)

A4 むかし (Mukashi)

B1 新曲“B” (Shinkyoku B)

B2 夕暮れのまんなか (Yuugure No Manaka)

B3 マシン (Machine)

B4 今なら (Ima Nara)

Maki Asakawa: Vocal

Toshinori Kondo: Trumpet, Percussion

Toshiyuki Honda: Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute

Shigeharu Mukai: Trombone

Kiyoshi Sugimoto: Guitar

Kazuo Tobita: Guitar

Tamio Kawabata: Bass

Hiro Tsunoda: Drums

  • Yoshino Kimutsugi: Recording & Mixing Engineer
  • Tatsuya Sakamoto: Second Engineer
  • Nonaka Lily: Front Cover Art

Recorded at July 19, 20 and 21 1982 at Take One Studio.

Produced: 寺本幸司・柴田徹

  • All lyrics: 浅川マキ (Maki Asakawa) except B-2 by 山内テツ (Tetsu Yamauchi)
  • All songs composed by 近藤等則 (Toshinori Kondo)
  • Label: Express
  • Toshiba EMI (Japan)
The Inseparable Cigarette